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Watertown, New York ----- "OSCAR" was announced June 13th as the winning entry of the "Name the Robot" contest held by Samaritan Medical Center to give the newest member of their surgical team, the da Vinci™ Robotic Surgical System, an official name. According to the winning entry submitted by Maggie Fipps of Watertown, a first grader in Mrs. Westberg's class at Immaculate Heart Central Schools, the letters in OSCAR stand for Outstanding Surgical Care with Advanced Robotics.

The "Name Our Robot" contest was open to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students were given information about the da Vinci Surgical System and were then asked to come up with a name for the robot, provide a brief explanation of the name and draw a picture of the robot. The hospital received more than 230 student submissions. The submissions were reviewed by members of the Samaritan Surgical Team, and although many entries were incredibly creative, OSCAR seemed to stand out and "fit" the robot best.

As a special thank you to Maggie for making OSCAR feel more like a member of the team, Samaritan Medical Center has invited her and five guests to the hospital to get to know OSCAR and the Surgical Team up close. OSCAR has a skills simulator that Maggie will be able to test drive, offering her a glimpse at the superior visualization, dexterity, and precision that the surgeons experience with robotic-assisted surgeries.

Twenty-five dollar gift cards to Michaels were awarded to seven other creative students who won the artwork awards for the most imaginative drawings of Samaritan's new robot. They were:
Jillian Barcelon, Kindergarten, Knickerbocker Elementary School;
Emma Corbin, 1st Grade, Immaculate Heart Central Schools;
Joe Girardi, 2nd Grade, Immaculate Heart Central Schools;
Robert O'Connor, 2nd Grade, Immaculate Heart Central Schools;
Stephanie Donida, West Carthage Elementary School;
Emilie Peacock, 4th Grade, Indian River Intermediate School;
Morgan Smith, 5th Grade, Copenhagen Central School.

Indian River Intermediate School also received a special award and a $500 donation to its parent-teacher association as the school with the most overall contest entries.

"We are very proud to make this innovative medical technology available to patients throughout the region," said Alejandro R. Rodriguez, MD, Director of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Samaritan Medical Center. "Involving young people in naming our new robot helps them understand the incredible advancements taking place within healthcare today and hopefully may also spark their interest in the healthcare field."  All of the contest entries will be on display in the Surgical Services Waiting Area on the second floor of Samaritan Medical Center through the end of the month. "The children did a great job and we had a lot of fun looking at all of the artwork. We really appreciate the students' and teachers' efforts, especially at this very busy time of year," Dr. Rodriguez concluded.

OSCAR assists surgeons in performing complex procedures on certain urological, gynecologic and general surgery patients. It enables the physician to use a set of miniature robotic "arms" to perform minimally invasive surgery. The surgeon looks through a high definition view screen while manipulating the robotic arms at a distance of about 20 feet from the patient. The use of OSCAR offers the patient less pain, less scarring, less blood loss, shorter hospital stays and a quicker return to normal activities.

Physicians using OSCAR include:
Director of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgery Chief of Urology and Urologic Oncology
Alejandro R. Rodriguez, MD
Gynecology Kathryn Buchanan, MD
Kenya Cain, MD
Walter Dodard, DO
Nancy L. Hawkins, MD
General Surgery
Robert O. Kimball, MD

For more information on OSCAR, Samaritan's da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, visit

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